Willie Collins v. Lennox Industries, Inc.

Annotate this Case
ca04-341

ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS
NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION

DIVISION II

WILLIE COLLINS

APPELLANT

V.

LENNOX INDUSTRIES, INC.

APPELLEE

CA04-341

December 1, 2004

APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO. F000509]

AFFIRMED

John Mauzy Pittman, Judge

The appellant in this workers' compensation case sustained a compensable back injury while employed by appellee on January 4, 2000. He filed a claim asserting that he was entitled to temporary total disability, additional medical treatment, and additional compensation. The Commission denied the claim, finding that appellant had failed to prove entitlement to those benefits. This appeal followed.

Appellant has filed a pro se brief consisting mainly of what appear to be annotations of case law interpreting various workers' compensation statutes. The cases from which these annotations presumably arose are generally not cited, and no attempt has been made to apply the abstract propositions of law found in the annotations to the particular facts of appellant's case.

The only discernable argument contained in appellant's brief is his assertion that the Commission erred in placing the burden of proving entitlement to compensation on him.

This is incorrect. The injured party bears the burden of proof in establishing entitlement to benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act and must sustain that burden by a preponderance of the evidence. Clardy v. Medi-Homes LTC Services LLC, 75 Ark. App. 156, 55 S.W.3d 791 (2001).

Where the Workers' Compensation Commission denies benefits because the claimant has failed to meet his burden of proof, the substantial-evidence standard of review requires us to affirm if the Commission's decision displays a substantial basis for the denial of relief. Howell v. Scroll Technologies, 343 Ark. 297, 35 S.W.3d 800 (2001). Here, the Commission noted that appellant was initially diagnosed with a mere back strain, and that there was no indication of total disability or a need for surgery until after appellant had sustained other injuries, including those arising out of an non-work-related automobile accident in which he was severely hurt. This observation is supported by the evidence, and we hold that it is a substantial basis for the Commission's conclusion that it would require speculation and conjecture to find that any disability or need for additional medical treatment was caused by appellant's compensable injury.

Affirmed.

Hart and Vaught, JJ., agree.